Saturday, December 24, 2016

A walk to the Mitchell Canyon Park Visitor Center

I was walking to the Mitchell Canyon Park Visitor Center in Clayton, California, when I thought of doing a a photo-document of this journey. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so I used my camera phone, which could barely handle the task. But one thing I learned this year after drawing a lot is: work with what you got. Because it's better than fretting over what you haven't got. And sometimes mistakes and bad lighting can be evocative.

So take a walk with me as 2016 comes to a close. And what a year it's been. I was walking just before dusk and these photos imply that and also my mood. I'm working with what I got—low light with a bad lens. It is what it is and you are with me on this journey.

This ranch-style house near my parents' street has kindly supplied the public-at-large with a drinking fountain and pet water station. I was thirsty and so I drank. Thank you, handy household.

This house features miniature ponies in their front yard but unfortunately they weren't out this day, probably because the gardeners were blowing leaves around. I liked their decor. There's a lovely garden at street level in front of the gates and in the spring it bursts into hundreds of flowers.

This is the last undeveloped lot on Mitchell Canyon Road. There used to be an orchard here and we climbed the trees when we were kids. And found someone's abandoned Playboy Magazine in the dirt. Memories.

I always hope the goats will be out and about when I pass by this property, and they were. This little goat was perched on a log. Goats are so charming when they perch on things. He or she bleated at me in a friendly manner.

The view of Mt. Diablo from the road. I saw plenty of horses on this walk but sorry, no photos. I didn't want my flash to frighten them. And one handsome beast had his back to me, so I avoided the dreaded "horse's ass" shot.

Getting closer to the park and the mountain.

I was trying to be mindful during my stroll, but passing by this quarry my thoughts turned to the concept of, "What fucking shit are they doing to the land now?" The sign assures us: "Slide Stabilization Complete - Historical Slope Contouring and Revegetation in progress." Which only made me more suspicious of their 50-year-plus mining operations that have carved away half of Mt. Zion, making it resemble tremendous tooth decay on a massive scale. The ranger filled me in on my way home, telling me that half this slope slid toward the road this year and the quarry is shoring it back up while revegetating it as the sign politely informs us. As always, GREAT JOB, CEMEX QUARRY.

Back to mindfulness. The creek, she is running!

Another day, when there's time and I'm feeling action-oriented, I'll do the hike to Eagle Peak. It starts like this and gets very steep very early in the walk. There's also a walk straight up the mountain alongside the creek and when it's running, which is only for part of the year, that is a worthy hike.

What will 2017 bring? I'm not sure I want to know. I like nature. Nature has its own time-table and it has nothing to do with our concerns. Nature is its own presence and we should honor that, always.

Wishing you joy and peace for the coming new year.

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